Vote bottoms up, Pinellas school board says
School board members in Pinellas County would like to encourage voters to start at the bottom of the ballot on Nov. 6. That's because the Pinellas County School District's tax referendum is at the end of a very long ballot - 4 pages (2 cards) - and after 11 constitutional amendments. (See a sample ballot here.)
Board member Janet Clark, who is running for re-election against challenger Elliott Stern, said Tuesday that she was concerned about voters missing the item altogether. Other board members agreed, with a few suggesting that they could encourage voters to start at the bottom of the ballot and work their way up.
The school board has to be careful not to advocate for the ballot item. But they can provide factual information about it. The district has a website to do that. School officials also have talked about putting a reminder about the referendum on school signs. School newsletters and robo calls also have been planned.
The special tax, which provides about $30 million each year to the school district, is up for its third renewal. It was first passed in 2004 and will expire in June 2013. Teacher salaries are supported with 80 percent of the money; the rest goes to reading, arts, music and technolog programs. See our story about it here.
You can read the ballot item here.